How many times have you hired someone because that person happened to be in the right place at the right time, only to find out later that he or she wasn't really qualified? Then began the frustrating experience of picking up the slack for your new hire's deficiencies and the drawn-out - but inevitable - process of letting him or her go.

The Price of Poor Hiring

In 2003, more than 1 million U.S. job layoffs were announced. And in a tight economy, people were still terminated essentially because they were the wrong hires from the beginning. Mis-hires can cost you considerably. More than compensation and benefits, there are the costs of mistakes, failures, slippage, missed opportunities, overall disruption, and the price of maintaining a person in the job. It adds up fast.

Studies show that mis-hiring into a management position can cost your company up to 14 times the base salary. So, while you spend energy to hire, train, and ultimately fire someone, keep in mind that your business is losing time, productivity, and money in the process.

The better approach is to view hiring as team building for your company. Have a written profile, including desired skill sets, for each job position. When combined, the right production manager, general manager, customer service representative, office manager, technician, and all other staff positions will work together to create a stronger team and a more successful company.

Build a Team

Here are some things to consider when building your team.

Talent counts. Don't make the recruiting mistake of hiring someone who has the potential to be the right person. The problem with this strategy is that your business will suffer during the time it takes for him or her to grow into the leadership position. Hire someone qualified at the outset. It takes time, patience, and discipline, but in the long run it will cost you less, create less stress, and achieve the best results. When hiring your second salesperson, production manager, or technician, you may choose to hire an apprentice-type person.

Skills and experience are only the beginning. New hires have to exhibit the qualities and characteristics needed to build a team. For example, does your prospective hire have the "get it done" attitude? When people have the same values as the company, following systems and policies comes naturally.

Get a second opinion. If new hires are not team players, they can undo what you're trying to build. A simple way to find out if they're a match is to have one of your staff members who would function at the same level as the candidate interview him or her. This serves two purposes. The peer interview may uncover or confirm issues that will influence whether you hire the person. Negative feedback about a potential new hire should be an instant red flag, regardless of the talent your prospective hire might possess. This is also a good opportunity for the candidate to see if he or she feels like a match for the team and would be comfortable with coworkers.

Disciplined Approach

All of this may sound simple to achieve, but it takes a disciplined interviewing approach. When you know exactly what you're looking for, it's amazing how much easier it is to recognize the right person for the job. Similarly, you will quickly disqualify the people who aren't a match. With experience, it becomes easier, you become more efficient, and the results for everyone are tremendous. Some of the greatest athletic teams in history have risen to the top even after losing their star. Why? Because they became a team, and a team is greater than any one player.

Doug Dwyer is president of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, based in Waco, Texas, and a NARI director-at-large.